‘Free Guy’ Debuts Atop DVD, Blu-ray Disc Sales Charts

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy was No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Oct. 16.

The film is directed by Shawn Levy and stars Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who learns he’s a video game character and yearns to become more than his programming. It earned $121 million at the domestic box office.

The top title the previous three weeks, Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga, slid to No. 2 on both charts, selling about 44% as many copies during the week as the newly released Free Guy.

Warner’s animation/live-action hybrid sports comedy Space Jam: A New Legacy slipped a spot to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart, and was No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 4 overall disc seller was Disney’s spooky 1993 family comedy Hocus Pocus, which was No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Black Widow slipped two spots to No. 5 on the overall disc chart, and no. 4 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

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The only other newcomer in the top 10 sellers, at No. 6 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart, was Lionsgate’s The Green Knight, a fantasy based on the adventures of medieval knight Sir Gawain, played by Dev Patel. It earned  $17.2 million at the domestic box office.

Rounding out the top five Blu-ray sellers was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Warner’s disc-release HBO Max’s director’s cut of the 2017 superhero team-up Justice League. It was No. 7 on the overall disc chart.

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A new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition of Universal’s 2009 Quentin Tarantino World War II film Inglourious Basterds pushed the film back up the charts to No. 16 overall and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart. The 4K edition accounted for 97% of its total sales.

Free Guy had 25% of its total sales from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with 42% from regular Blu-ray and 33% from DVD.

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 17 had Vertical Entertainment’s Joe Bell as the top title. The Mark Wahlberg drama was made available on disc a week early at Redbox Kiosks.

F9 dropped to No. 2 after three weeks in the top spot, followed by Space Jam: A New Legacy at No. 3, Universal’s The Forever Purge at No. 4, and Sony Pictures’ Escape Room: Tournament of Champions at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-16-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-17-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-16-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-16-21

‘F9,’ ‘Black Widow’ Lead September Disc Sales

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s F9: The Fast Saga earned top honors on the top 10 list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for September 2021 according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

The latest “Fast & Furious” sequel was released on disc Sept. 21 and has spent three weeks atop the weekly sales charts, but its first week-and-a-half of sales were enough to top the entire month of September and move the title onto the year’s top 10 to date at No. 5.

Disney-owned Marvel’s Black Widow, the 24th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was released a week earlier, on Sept. 14, and came in at No. 2 for the month. It landed on the year-to-date top 10 at No. 6.

No. 3 for the month was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Warner’s Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of HBO Max’s four-hour director’s cut of the 2017 superhero team-up film Justice League. It was released on disc Sept. 7.

Disney’s Cruella, the 101 Dalmatians prequel about the origins of the villainous Cruella de Vil, debuted on the monthly chart at No. 4 for September, following its Sept. 21 disc release.

September’s No. 5 title was another newcomer, DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby: Family Business, released on disc by Universal Pictures Sept. 14.

The previous month’s No. 2 seller, Lionsgate’s Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, stuck around to drop to No. 6 in September. The action-comedy sequel was released on disc Aug. 17.

Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which was the No. 8 August title after being released the last week of the month, rose to No. 7 in September.

Two catalog titles jumped into the September chart due to the prominence of Halloween-themed titles this time of year: Disney’s 1993 spooky family comedy Hocus Pocus at No. 8, and Warner’s 1988 supernatural comedy Beetlejuice at No. 9.

Rounding out the top 10 was another newcomer, DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, an Aug. 31 disc release from Universal Pictures.

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On the year-to-date chart, the top four titles remain unchanged, with Universal’s The Croods: A New Age remaining the year’s top-selling title.

Warner’s 1996 basketball comedy Space Jam slipped a spot on the yearly chart to No. 7, while Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter dropped three spots to No. 8, and Universal’s News of the World slid two spots to No. 9.

The September sales of Beetlejuice were enough to push it onto the year’s top 10 at No. 10, a climb of eight spots from August.

Disney’s Soul, Warner’s Tom & Jerry and Warner’s Mortal Kombat remake dropped out of the year-to-date top 10.

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According to NPD, the September 2021 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. F9: The Fast Saga (Universal)
  2. Black Widow (Disney)
  3. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Warner)
  4. Cruella (Disney)
  5. The Boss Baby: Family Business (Universal/DreamWorks)
  6. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate)
  7. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner)
  8. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  9. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  10. Spirit Untamed (Universal/DreamWorks)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through September 2021):

  1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner)
  4. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney)
  5. F9: The Fast Saga (Universal)
  6. Black Widow (Disney)
  7. Space Jam (Warner)
  8. Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  9. News of the World (Universal)
  10. Beetlejuice (Warner)

 

‘Luca’ Tops August Disc Sales

U.K. Home Entertainment Group Bows Winter Holiday Movie Disc, Digital Gift Promo Video

It’s never too early to think about gift buying for the winter holidays. The British Association for Screen Entertainment, the U.K.’s home entertainment trade group, Oct. 14 released a promotional YouTube video designed to inspire consumer buying of movies and TV shows on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital platforms in the fourth quarter.

Dubbed “Give the Gift of Film & TV,” the 2:53 minute video features a montage of clips from myriad movies, including the latest James Bond actioner No Time to Die; 20th Century Studios’ action comedy Free Guy; Disney’s Jungle Cruise; Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie; Warner Bros. Pictures’ Space Jam: A New Legacy, and Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga.

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TV shows include “Killing Eve” star Jodie Corner in “Help,” and “Strictly Come Dancing: Motsi & Anton’s Strictly — The Best,” and Netflix’s award-winning drama “The Crown.”

Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ No. 1 on U.K. Home Entertainment Chart — Thanks to Disc

Disney’s Jungle Cruise edged out previous chart topper Free Guy (20th Century Studios) to finish No. 1 on the U.K’s Official Film Chart through Oct. 13 — in its first week of retail release. 

The action adventure, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, topped Free Guy by just 1,900 unit sales on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

MGM’s James Bond catalog release Spectre climbed one spot to No. 3, joining other Daniel Craig titles in the Top 10: Skyfall (No. 7), Casino Royale (No. 8) and Quantum of Solace (No. 9).

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s F9: The Fast Saga dropped one spot to No. 4 despite being the biggest digital download of the week. Disney’s Black Widow fell three spots to No. 5.

Universal’s The Croods 2: A New Age entered the chart in No. 6 spot — based on digital downloads only. Finally, Disney/Pixar’s Luca rounded off the week at No. 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Oct. 13, 2021

Rank

Previous Week

Movie

Distributor

1

NEW

JUNGLE CRUISE

DISNEY

2

1

FREE GUY

20TH CENTURY

3

4

SPECTRE

MGM

4

3

FAST & FURIOUS 9

UNIVERSAL PICTURES

5

2

BLACK WIDOW

DISNEY/MARVEL

6

NEW

THE CROODS 2: A NEW AGE

UNIVERSAL

7

7

SKYFALL

MGM

8

6

CASINO ROYALE

MGM

9

11

QUANTUM OF SOLACE

MGM

10

9

LUCA

DISNEY

© Official Charts Company 2021

Merchandising: Phoning in ‘Free Guy’ Exclusives

Best Buy and Target each offered exclusive editions of Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy Oct. 12.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who realizes he’s a video game character.

Target offered the 4K combo pack in an exclusive “Art Edition” with unique box art and two foil-etched prints for $34.99.

Best Buy offered its usual Steelbook treatment, using the metal packaging for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of Free Guy for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Free Guy’ 4K Steelbook

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Both chains also offered free copies of Free Guy with the purchase of select Mint Mobile prepaid wireless phone plans ranging from $45 to $90.

Target also had a buy-two-get-one-free sale on books and movies.

‘Free Guy,’ ‘Green Knight,’ ‘Don’t Breathe 2,’ ‘Stillwater’ Among Top Oct. 12 Disc and Digital Releases

Oct. 12 marks the Blu-ray Disc and DVD debuts of such films as Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy and Lionsgate’s The Green Knight, while Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2 and Universal’s Stillwater become available for digital purchase.

Free Guy arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 12. The action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds has generated $119.6 million at the domestic box office and $327.4 million worldwide. Reynolds plays a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game decides to become the hero of his own story — one he rewrites himself. Now, in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way, before it’s too late.

The fantasy adventure The Green Knight arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and digital Oct. 12 from Lionsgate. A new take on the 14th century medieval story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” the film stars Academy Award nominee Dev Patel, Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, Golden Globe nominee Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie and Ralph Iverson. From writer-director David Lowery, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain (Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom.

The documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain arrives on DVD Oct. 12 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The documentary is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, the film is unflinching look at Bourdain, who published several books, appeared on the Bravo series “Top Chef” and had his own series “No Reservations.” He also appeared in the film The Big Short. Bourdain died of an apparent suicide in 2018.

Lionsgate releases the action thriller Survive the Game on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Oct. 12. The film stars Swen Temmel as Cal, a cop whose partner, David (Bruce Willis) is injured in a drug bust gone wrong. Cal pursues the two criminals who shot David to a remote farm owned by troubled vet Eric (Chad Michael Murray). As Cal and Eric plot their defense, more of the gang arrives — along with a wounded David — and, outnumbered, the three heroes must use stealth, smarts, and marksmanship to take down the drug-dealing mob.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Oct. 12. The collection includes all 18 episodes from the 2021 season of the CW series that chronicles the adventures of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who uses his super-speed powers to become the superhero known as the Flash, and his friends as they protect Central City from a variety of threats. The cast also includes Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost, Carlos Valdes as Cisco, Tom Cavanagh as Wells, Jesse L. Martin as Joe West, Danielle Nicolet as Cecile, Kayle Compton as Allegra and Brandon McKnight as Chester.

Paramount Home Entertainment releases the gothic romance The Haunting of Bly Manor on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Oct. 12. The nine-part Bly Manor is primarily based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and serves as the second installment in Netflix’s “Haunting” anthology, following 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House. Returning cast members from Hill House include Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino and Kate Siegal, playing different characters. After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed.

Paramount Oct. 12 will also release The Haunting Collection on Blu-ray and DVD, containing both Hill House and Bly House.

Lionsgate releases the History channel miniseries The Titans That Built America on DVD Oct. 12. Executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, the three-part docudrama follows the rise and rivalries of five titans of industry — Pierre du Pont, Walter Chrysler, J.P. Morgan Jr., Henry Ford and William Boeing. Out of the ashes of World War I and the Great Depression, a new crop of bold innovators creates new industries — from automobiles and airplanes to buildings and munitions — and rebuilds the United States. After years of competing with each other, these industry titans must unite during World War II to help defeat the world’s greatest enemy. Narrated by Campbell Scott, the miniseries stars Gerald Kyd, Cillian O’Gairbhi, Peter O’Meara, Grant Masters and Ian Toner. It originally aired May 31 to June 2, 2021, on History.

The horror thriller Don’t Breathe 2 becomes available for digital purchase Oct. 12 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In the sequel, Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) has been hiding out for several years in an isolated cabin. He lives with a young girl and has re-created the family stolen from him by a drunk driver. Their quiet life together is shattered when a group of unseemly criminals kidnaps her and forces Norman to tap into even darker and more creative instincts in an effort to save her. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 26.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release the drama Stillwater for digital purchase Oct. 12. Directed by Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), the film stars Matt Damon as Bill Baker, an American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma who travels to Marseilles to visit his estranged daughter (Abigail Breslin), who is in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences and a complicated legal system, Bill builds a new life for himself in France as he makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Oct. 26.

The documentary Live at Mr. Kelly’s will be released on VOD and digital sellthrough Oct. 12 from Virgil Films. The iconic Mister Kelly’s illuminated legendary Chicago’s Rush Street, and the entire country, by launching talent such as Barbra Streisand, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, Bette Midler and Steve Martin. Its visionary owners George and Oscar Marienthal smashed color and gender barriers to put unknown, controversial voices on stage and transform entertainment as America knew it in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Now, with the club long gone, and its star talent reaching their golden years, George’s son David and director/screenwriter Theodore Bogosian go on a quest to collect the memories before they are lost. Celebrity interviews include Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers, Dick Gregory, Lainie Kazan, Herbie Hancock, Dick Cavett, Tim Reid, Fred Willard and Ramsey Lewis. The film portrays through interviews, live footage, photos, music and song the rise and fall of one of American entertainment’s great proving grounds. It arrives on DVD Oct. 19.

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment debuts six more classics on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever Oct. 12, exclusively within the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 2. Films in the collection, only available on 4K as part of the set, include Anatomy of a Murder, Oliver!, Taxi Driver, Stripes, Sense and Sensibility and The Social Network. Each title includes special features. Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film via six new essays from writers Julie Kirgo, John Kenrick, Glenn Kenny, Michael G. McDunnah, Kayti Burt and Nev Pierce. The set also includes an exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc featuring 20 short films from the Columbia Pictures library, all presented in high-definition. The shorts, curated from more than 80 years of the studio’s history, showcase a wide scope of creative output across both live-action and animation, from “The Three Stooges” to award-winning mid-century cartoons to titles from Sony Pictures Animation.

Kino Lorber Oct. 12 releases the complete “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” series, which aired on ABC during the 1974–75 season. Darren McGavin portrays wire service reporter Carl Kolchak, who investigates mysterious crimes with supernatural causes. The series only aired for a single season but became a cult favorite during syndication.

Two classic Westerns directed by Robert Aldrich also are coming out on Blu-ray Disc Oct. 12. Vera Cruz (1953) stars Burt Lancaster, Gary Cooper, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Elam. The film is set during the Franco-Mexican War, with Lancaster and Cooper teaming up on a dangerous journey to transport a countess — and a hidden cache of gold — to the city of Veracruz. The Last Sunset (1961) stars Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas and Dorothy Malone. Famed author Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay, about a fugitive named Brendan O’Malley (Douglas) who crosses the border into Mexico to escape justice for a murder, pursued by Sheriff Dana Stribling (Hudson). He arrives at the ranch of a former lover, Belle Breckenridge (Malone). Initially he aims to win her back, but winds up falling in love with her daughter (played by Carol Lynley). A terrible secret put a tragic end to their love affair.

Also from Kino Oct. 12 is a Blu-ray of 1978 British comedy The Hound of the Baskervilles, which spoofs the classic Sherlock Holmes novel of the same name. The film stars  Peter Cook as Sherlock Holmes and Dudley Moore as Dr. Watson.

Quentin Tarantino’s World War II revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 12 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In the film starring Brad Pitt, as war rages in Europe, a Nazi-scalping squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” is on a daring mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Free Guy

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/12/21;
Disney/20th Century;

Comedy;
Box Office $119.68 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references.
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar.

The initial marketing campaigns for Free Guy suggested it would be another film attempting to present the story from the point of view of characters otherwise not considered alive. In this case, a non-player character (NPC) in a video game, making the film essentially a live-action spin on Wreck-It Ralph.

However, what appears at first to be another derivative story about video games is instead a smartly written, sharply funny sci-fi action comedy.

That isn’t to say the film is wholly original, but it blends recognizable elements from a number of sources in a way that works to give the film its own flavor.

Ryan Reynolds plays Guy, an NPC in a video game called Free City, which is also the name of the city that serves as the game’s primary location where players engage in all sorts of action-adventure missions such as car chases and bank heists. Guy works as a bank teller at the city’s bank that is always being robbed, but he dreams of a life of more than just needless repetition, and notes that the people having all the fun are wearing sunglasses.

So, one day, he confronts a bank robber and steals their glasses, and when he puts them on he discovers a whole new world that exists on top of his own, as he can now access the heads up display of the gamer, allowing him to engage them on their terms.

So, off the bat we get elements of The Lego Movie, with the conformist character’s desire to expand his horizons; The Matrix, with the simulated world where outsiders can manipulate time and space; and They Live, with the sunglasses unveiling the true nature of the world.

Guy then meets Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer), who fits all the parameters of Guy’s ideal woman, so he instantly falls in love with her. She’s a player who seems to be on a different mission than everyone else, and at first believes Guy is a another player like herself, so she gives him tips on how to level-up in the game in order to be able to help her.

In the real world she’s actually a programmer named Millie who once helped design an open-source gaming code that was purchased by a larger company but then scrapped, though she believes it was used as the base code for Free City, so she’s trying to infiltrate the game to find proof (shades of Tron).

She and other gamers soon come to realize that Guy is in fact an NPC, which astonishes them, while alarming the owner (Taika Waititi) of the company that makes Free City, who is trying to stop Millie from uncovering the truth about the game.

It turns out there’s an actual story reason why Guy seems to be an NPC come to life, which not only plays into the larger narrative of what Millie is seeking, but also makes the film a legitimate piece of sci-fi with a message about pushing past the constraints that sometimes seem built into existence. But the film also pokes fun at gaming culture, including live-streaming game play.

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The 4K Ultra HD combo pack includes the film on a 4K disc with no extras, and a regular Blu-ray with the film and all the extras, consisting of several behind-the-scenes featurettes, a five-minute gag reel and some deleted scenes.

The featurettes, which run about 45 minutes total, are pretty extensive and showcase how director Shawn Levy and his talented cast crafted them film using some unique visual effects techniques. There’s a 15-minute general making-of, a seven-minute piece on Comer, an eight-minute piece on Waititi, and a 15-minute examination of a key action sequence with Reynolds. There’s also a two-minute video about the visual effects contraption used to record some of the actors’ faces.

There are two minor deleted scenes — one runs about a minute and features Guy musing about the nature of the world, the other is a 30-second action gag — and a four-minute extended sequence.

The disc also includes three of the film’s trailers.

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Unfortunately, the disc doesn’t include any kind of commentary track, which could have been a fun one given the cast involved, especially if Reynolds and Waititi did one in character as their Marvel characters Deadpool and Korg, like they did for a YouTube reaction video to one of the trailers.

Streaming Video Betting Big on Legalized Sports Gambling

Live sports and gambling have a long co-dependent relationship, which is expanding beyond casinos to over-the-top video. The new field of dreams for incremental billions in revenue began in 2018 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal anti-sports-gambling law. Wagering on pro and college sports became legal in September 2019 with both mobile and in-person betting permitted.

Online video platform FuboTV’s pending gaming unit just launched marketing partnerships with the NFL’s New York Jets and NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers — a first for an OTT platform.

“Everybody does the NFL draft. Everyone’s got a mock draft. Well, seemingly every content area has their betting expert. So, I think the key is gamification of it,” Aaron Nagler, co-founder of Cheesehead TV, told a Streaming Media panel this summer. “It’s just extending what your visit to Vegas might be to an online experience wrapped inside whatever specific content you’re creating.”

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Fox Sports became the first major media company in the U.S. to acquire a stake in sports gambling after paying $236 million for a 5% ownership of The Stars Group.

“Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the Fox Sports brand,” said Eric Shanks, CEO of Fox Sports.

Fox Bet Super 6 just added nearly 3 million players during the 2020 NFL season, bringing its user base to more than 4.3 million players. It claims to be the biggest free-to-play online game of its kind in the country. The platform is rolling out in states that have legalized wagering, including most recently Michigan on Jan. 26. Fox also owns a 18.5% stake in FanDuel, the daily fantasy and online sports book.

“A key differentiator for Fox Bet has been across promotional power of all of Fox’s assets (including ad-supported streaming site Tubi) to ignite the Fox Bet brand,” Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on an investor call earlier this year. The executive said sports gambling factors into ongoing distribution of NFL games.

“The NFL is very aware of the importance of sports wagering,” Murdoch said.

FanDuel in 2019 inked a deal with FuboTV, making it the exclusive sports book, online casino, horse racing and DFS (distributed file system) partner of the TV streaming service. The agreement was FanDuel Group’s first partnership with an online TV service aimed at expanding FuboTV’s sports offering for consumers while integrating betting data on the platform.

“We are always looking for ways to add value for consumers and enhance their premium experience with FuboTV,” said Min Kim, VP of business development at Fubo. “Gaming and sports are natural complements.”

Adam Kaplan, VP of content business and operations at FanDuel, said the company’s data analytics will change how people watch live sports on TV and the Internet.

“We can enhance the live-viewing experience by allowing cord-cutting sports fans to view the content that matters to them the most from their TV, phone, tablet or computer,” Kaplan said.

But FanDuel’s relationship with FuboTV could change as the latter branches out into its own sports gambling. The 6-year-old service last year acquired Balto Sports, a backend developer of fantasy sports gaming software, and Vigtory, an interactive sports gaming company, for its Fubo Gambling unit launching in the fourth quarter.

“The valuations around sports betting operators are so huge, why not take a punt on being one?” Andy Clerkson, a partner at Red Knot Communications, a gambling PR firm, told LegalSportsReport.com. “You could be a super-affiliate worth hundreds of millions. Or you could try and be an operator worth billions.”

The Motley Fool’s Rick Munarriz contends FuboTV can open the “spigot of sports gambling” without raising eyebrows the way Google or Disney might with regulators.

“FuboTV can go places where others can’t,” Munarriz wrote.

Disney-owned ESPN has partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, offering sport-betting-related content on ESPN and ESPN+, the brand’s SVOD platform.

“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” said Mike Morrison, VP of business development at ESPN. “We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way.”

WarnerMedia Entertainment inked a deal with Caesars Entertainment to build a branded Vegas studio for its online Bleacher Report (B/R) platform.

Disney, which has sought to downplay tacit support for gambling, is changing its tune. ESPN recently launched “The Daily Wager” and “ESPN Bet.” In September, CEO Bob Chapek said the company would get more aggressive with sports wagering, including licensing the ESPN brand name to a third-party sports book for the right price.

“Let’s just say our fans are really interested in sports betting,” Chapek said at the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference event. “Let’s say our partners in the leagues are interested in sports betting, so we’re interested in sports betting. Strategically, sports betting gives us the ability to appeal to a much younger sports fan who has a very strong affinity for those sports. So it’s definitely a place we want to be.”

‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ Available Digitally Nov. 2, on Disc Nov. 16

Searchlight Pictures’ biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye will be available on digital Nov. 2 and on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 16 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is an intimate look at the rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain). In the 1970s and ’80s, Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield) built a burgeoning religious broadcasting network and theme park — until rivals, financial wrongdoing and scandal toppled their empire.

Bonus features include the making-of featurette “A Look Inside The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”

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Kelly Campbell Exits Hulu After Less Than Two Years as President

Kelly Campbell, president of Hulu since 2020, has left the Disney-owned streaming platform. Her departure was announced to staff Oct. 4 in an internal memo disclosed on social media.

No reason was given for Campbell’s exit. One of the top female executives in home entertainment, Campbell had been with Hulu for four years. Her immediate reports now report to Rebecca Campbell, chairman of international operations and direct-to-consumer.

Campbell was promoted to president of Hulu in February 2020 following the departure of Hulu CEO Randy Freer. As the boss, she worked closely with Disney’s television and film studios on Hulu’s original content, and with other direct-to-consumer and international management on the integration of key aspects of Hulu’s operations across the segment.

Campbell joined Hulu in 2017 as chief marketing officer. Previously, she worked for 12 years at Google, where she held various marketing roles in Google Ads and Google Cloud. She began her career in the financial services sector, serving as an investment banking analyst at first J.P. Morgan (now JPMorgan Chase) and then Fleet Bank. While pursuing her MBA at Harvard Business School, Campbell was a global marketing intern at Procter & Gamble.

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On her LinkedIn page Campbell writes, “Four years ago I accepted my dream job when I joined Hulu. And it didn’t disappoint. I worked with the best of the best, in a values driven culture full of the most talented people around. I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved together. While I’ve made the decision to move on from Hulu, I’ll forever bleed green.

“To the Hulugans and Xulugans out there … I’m grateful for the countless memories we created together. From wall photos to wind downs, from huluween to hulapalooza, the memories will live on.

“As for what’s next, stay tuned …”

In August, Campbell was selected as one of the top 15 Women in Home Entertainment “captains” by Media Play News. At the time she said, “I believe that streaming is the most exciting place to be in this industry right now, largely because that is where consumers are going. That being said, streaming and transactional businesses will continue to complement each other by providing consumers with opportunities to experience content in different ways. These businesses may also start to converge, as the lines between the two start to blur. Across the industry, it’s clear that viewers will show up for both streaming and transactional in-home entertainment. We’re learning better ways of doing things we’ve always done, and these learnings will continue to drive us as we go forward.”